NCIS makes huge change for season 20 – and fans have strong reaction

NCIS returned to screens this week with a huge change that is sure to disappoint fans who have been hoping to see more of the show’s former lead star, Mark Harmon.

The 70-year-old actor – who ended his 19-year run as the drama’s lead just under a year ago – remained in the show’s opening credits throughout all of season 19, which CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl explained was because it was a “transition” year.

But now, the procedural has now changed its opening credits to remove the veteran star altogether. Instead, longtime actor Sean Murray, who plays Timothy McGee, features first in the cast montage, followed by Rocky Carroll and Gary Cole.


The subtle but significant change did not go unnoticed by viewers, who were quick to comment. Taking to Twitter, one wrote: “After 20(!) seasons, seeing the #NCIS opening credits without Mark Harmon in it is a bittersweet feeling. But I love that Sean Murray has top billing. I love McGee and seeing how Murray has evolved his character is amazing to see.”


Mark Harmon ended his 18-year run as the drama’s lead last year

Another said: “I love the new #NCIS credits. I love and miss Gibbs, but it was super weird to have him in the credits all of last season.” A third added: “First season in 20 years Mark Harmon is not in the NCIS credits. Feels so weird. #NCIS.”


For some, the change was a bit too much to handle and left them feeling quite emotional. “Real sad not seeing Mark Harmon anymore in the opening credits,” one wrote alongisde a string of crying face emojis.


The opening credits for NCIS no longer features Mark Harmon

“Wahh! Mark’s not in the opening credits anymore,” someone else added, and another wrote: “Mark Harmon no longer being in the intro kinda hurts #NCIS.”


However, fans will be pleased to hear that there is a chance that Mark could still reappear in the drama in the future. Not long after his exit in October 2021, showrunner Steve Binder released a statement that heavily suggested Gibbs was not gone for good.

He said that not only does Mark “continue to be an integral part of the fabric of the show,” due to his off-screen role as an executive producer, but that viewers should “never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out”.

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